The Red Church

By C.R. Bilardi

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~review by David Rankine (originally at www.ritualmagick.co.uk )

When most of the books you read are for research, it is always a pleasure to read a good book which increases your knowledge of an associated subject which you have not had time to study.  Chris Bilardi’s The Red Church is an excellent example of this.  Subtitled “The Art of Pennsylvania German Braucherei”, this book is a fascinating study of Pow Wow, the American Christian folk magic which grew from German roots.

The first part of the book provides a detailed analysis of the different European (predominantly German) religious movements which fed into the Braucherei, setting the scene and providing the provenance for the material.  The historical analysis is a vital part of providing the context for magical systems, so it was a pleasure to see such a through treatise which covered all the ground whilst holding the reader’s interest.

As a tradition which draws on the grimoires and Qabalah as well as its Biblical core, the practices are heavily religious, and Bilardi is not afraid to emphasise the importance of being a good member of the local Christian community, something which was key to magical practitioners of the grimoires, cunning-folk and other traditions as well.  It is good to see the debt that the Western Esoteric Traditions owe to Christianity as one of the driving forces of modern magic being acknowledged.  It has become unfortunately trendy in some areas to ‘bash’ Christianity as being anti-pagan, whilst reflecting those same prejudices, and also ignoring the fact that there is an inherent magic in the Bible and Christian practice which continues to be one of the most powerful magical currents in the world.

However this book is not purely about hisotry and philosophy, it is also packed with numerous examples of the charms and practices of Braucherei, drawn from the old texts like The Long Lost Friend and also from practitioners, which show very effectively how quickly practices can evolve and change through personal use and experience.  (As an aside, Dan Harms is working on a definitive volume on The Long Lost Friend which should be a welcome addition to this field).

All in all this is an excellent volume which should be of interest to a wide range of people, from magicians to folklorists, healers to historians, psychologists to pagans.  Chris Bilardi is to be congratulated on producing such a fine work.

Utterly Wicked

Curses, Hexes & Other Unsavory Notions

By Dorothy Morrison

I saw this book recommended on many websites and often as recommended book on Amazon when I was buying some of the more serious books I tend to spend my money on.  I saw it time and time again, remembering it because it has such a different looking cover for a book on Witchcraft.  It is memorable.  Certainly it is that.  The title is quite catchy too and as I am sitting waiting for my copy of John Canard’s forthcoming “Defences against the Witches Craft” (see Avalonia Books for details) I decided that I should probably start by reading what others are writing and reading when it comes to casting those curses in the first instance.   Not that I would do such a thing, of course.  Or, would I?

The list of credits on the back cover, by other authors who recommend and endorse this book is impressive.  It reads like a who’s who of the American pop-magic scene – Raven Grimassi, Judika Illes and Stephanie Rose Bird all have good things to say about it.

So is this book worth spending the US$14.95 on of the cover price?  (and that is not a lot with the weak $ to the £ at the moment).

Well, having had a proper read I think that it would be well worth the cover price if you are new to spell casting and need some direction, for the newcomers to spell casting this is going to be a book of biblical porportions, for the experienced this will be a fantastic book to read and enjoy for the sense of humour portrayed in it.  Yes ok, this is not a nice book.  No fluffy pink ribbons here smelling of roses to make you feel better about yourself.  No way.   Dorothy Morrison blatantly makes it clear from the outset that this is a book about getting revenge, getting even and that in her opinion there is nothing wrong with it either.

There is no ‘Wiccan Rede’ here and frankly that is a relief as I have had it up to my eyeballs in misinterpretations of the Wiccan Rede by people who have never actually stood naked in a Witches Circle and who haven’t got a clue about ethics anyway.  (But of course think they do.)

The material presented is a blend of pagan magic with vodou and santeria potions and lotions, spells and charms from all kinds of different traditions come together in an eclectic mix which will provide inspiration for anyone interested in expanding their horizons and gaining inspiration for creating their own unique spells for uses diverse.

Enjoy.  Learn.  Open your mind.

Not for the fainthearted who think that magic is the domain of the wiccans alone.

Dear all,

On the 1st of August it is Lammastide, or Lughnasadh, the harvest
festival or Minden Day. Of course this is a time of celebration,
especially if it is a plentiful harvest year. However, no matter how
plentiful the harvest might have been that year, on 31st of July in
1713 two lovers, Sarah and John, who had obtained permission from
their parents that very day to finally get married, were struck dead
simultaneously by lightning during the harvest. Their fate was
recorded by the poet Alexander Pope thus:

“When eastern lovers feed the funeral fire,
On the same pile the faithful pair expire:
Here pitying heav’n, that virtue mutual found,
And blasted both, that it might neither wound.
Hearts so sincere th’ Almighty saw well pleased,
Sent his own lightning, and the victims seized.”

Sarah and John might not have had much to celebrate that Lughnasadh,
but by meeting their end thus, they did ensure their own immortality
in the chronicles of history! Which is romantic in its own way!

Lugh, after whom the festival of Lughnasadh is named, is the son of
Ethne (the daughter of Balar) and Cian (the son of Dian Cecht). His
name is taken to mean `shining one’. Lugh was foestered with the
smith god Goibniu who taught him all the crafts and he also gained the
name `Lugh Lamfada’ (Lugh of the Long Arm). As the god of all crafts,
he was challenged at the gates of Tara and replied that he was a
builder, a smith, a champion, a harper, a warrior, a poet, a
historian, a sorceror, a physician, a cupbearer and a brazier! It is
clear from this why Caesar equated Lugh with the Roman god Mercury!
The spear of Lugh was one of the four treasures of the Tuatha de
Danann and ensured that no battle was ever won against who ever held
it in their hand and both Lugh and his spear played a key role in many
of the prophesies. His stories, myths, legends and worship is
primarily tied to Ireland, but also appears in other parts of the
British Isles – where he is also usually identified as both a solar
and otherworldly god, sometimes in association with the Gallic Goddess
Rosmerta. If you are going to celebrate Lughnasadh this year, make
sure to make an offering into the Earth from your cup for Lugh! After
all, it is HIS festival!

Here in Monmouthshire, David and I have been working to finish off
some of the projects we have been working on for a while.

HORNS OF POWER: Manifestations of the Horned God is due out soon.
Pre-orders open today and books will be dispatched on the release date
(7th August). All orders placed on or before the release date will
receive a 25% discount, so make sure to place your order now:
http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=59 This unique anthology
brings together essays by a number of modern day scholars, priests and
mystics, exploring the many facets of horned gods – from Cernunnos and
Pan, to Veles, Khnum and Unicorns, there is something for everyone
interested in the Horned God (or Goddess!). More information can be
found by visiting http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

David has been putting the finishing touches to THE VERITABLE KEY OF
SOLOMON, which he is co-authoring with Stephen Skinner. A limited
edition of 25 copies full leather edition and a 350 copy half-leather
edition will be available in full colour directly from
http://www.goldenhoard.co.uk before the black & white hardback
edition which will be available from Llewellyn in 2009. Interest in
this project is phenomenal and those interested in finding out more
are advised to visit http://www.goldenhoard.co.uk now and register
their interest in the limited editions by emailing
admin@goldenhoard.co.uk to be placed on the mailing list. Pre-orders
will open later this week!

We hope that you and yours are well and, if like us you live in the
UK, that you are enjoying the rare spell of warmer weather and
sunshine we seem to be experiencing between the thunderstorms at the
moment!

Blessings
Sorita d’Este
http://www.avalonia.co.uk
http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk

ps. Check out David Rankine’s new blog at http://www.ritualmagick.co.uk for
interesting articles on magick, grimoires and other related fields!

————***———–

CONTENTS:

1/ AVALONIA OFFERS – SAVE 25% on Climbing the Tree of Life & WIZARDRY!
2/ HORNS OF POWER, edited by Sorita d’Este
3/ DEFENCES OF THE WITCHES’ CRAFT by John Canard
4/ NEW BOOK REVIEWS (The Esoteric Book Review)
5/ QABALAH THROUGH THE WORLDS – Workshop by David Rankine
6/ REVIEWS OF WICCA MAGICKAL BEGINNINGS
7/ WICCA in the NEWS
8/ THE COMPLETE MAGICIAN’S TABLES – SPECIAL OFFER save 33%!

————***———–

1/ AVALONIA BOOK OFFERS

*Special offers for the whole month of August on*

*Climbing the Tree of Life*
RRP £18.00, order now for just £13.50
– This book by David Rankine provides the reader with a practical
manual of practical Qabalah as worked in the Western Esoteric Traditions

*Wizardry for the Uninitiated*
RRP £8.99, order now for just £6.99
– This book by Thea Faye provides the reader with practical insights
from a modern day Wizard on the practices, philosophies and beliefs of
a Wizard!

For more information on these book offers, see:
http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=47

————***———–

2/ HORNS OF POWER, edited by Sorita d’Este
The raw, ancient and primordial force symbolised by horns has long had
associations with mystery, magick and power. Our ancestors often
envisaged their gods as anthropomorphic beings who encapsulated this
wild essence. Today the gods of the bull, the ram, goat and stag still
hold tremendous power and are invoked at rituals by a new priesthood
who continue to seek the wildness of nature and the inspiration that
it holds. These deities transcend the safe and known boundaries of
human structure, sometimes even luring us across the threshold of the
known into the unknown worlds.

This unique anthology brings together the work of more than twenty
dedicated scholars with that of modern day mystics. Through their
written and artistic contributions they illustrate just some of the
many manifestations of the Horned God.

A true cornucopia of both insightful and well researched essays takes
us from the well known Celtic Cernunnos and the legend of Herne the
Hunter, to the goat-footed Greek Pan, the lesser known Slavic Veles
and Egyptian Khnum. Horned serpents, unicorns, the tale of the Battle
of the Bulls in the Irish Táin Bó Cúailnge, the Welsh Gwyn Ap Nudd and
the faery Puck are all also considered.

Then a wild hunt as we journey with the mystics who share their own
experiences of the gods of the wildwood and untamed beasts. Each story
is as different as the person who experienced it – and each
illustrating in its own unique way a Horned God who is wild,
unpredictable, loving – and at heart a trickster. For those who wish
to dare a bit more than others, visionary meditation journeys to
explore the mysteries of Cernunnos and Gwyn Ap Nudd are included.
Horns of power would of course be nothing without the horns of beauty
of the feminine divine, and in the final section of this anthology the
reader is presented with essays exploring horned goddesses.

Whether through the mysteries of their existence, the vast scope of
their influence or the endurance of their survival through to the
modern day, each contributor provides a window into the wonders and
magick of the enduring Horned God.

Pre-orders can now be place at:
http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=59 – if placed before or
on the 7th of August you will receive a 25% discount! (Free P&P on
all orders, worldwide!).

————***———–

3/ DEFENCES OF THE WITCHES’ CRAFT by John Canard

Have you been cursed? How would you know beyond your gut feeling and
everything in your life seemingly falling apart? Exploring the
traditional witchcraft of our ancestors, root magician John Canard
explains how to detect and reflect curses, and work out who is the
most likely person cursing you.
He details how curses can be fought using a range of tried and trusted
old charms like witch bottles, witch balls, rowan and red thread,
magick squares, and medieval charms, and how you can enlist
supernatural help from beings like angels and church grims. He also
describes how to make holy water for purifying your home, how to set
wards, and protect your home from all negative influences.

Discover how to use the witches’ own weapons against them, with
poppets, herbs, and stones. By taking the initiative and not being a
victim you can ensure that your life is unaffected by the malefic
intent of others, and turn the tables on cursers so that they receive
the negativity back that was aimed at you. John Canard gives clear and
concise explanations of the practices and the underlying magickal
principles, making this work an invaluable manual of protection that
will dispel the negativity of cursers and cursing from your life.

This book will soon be available for ordering from
http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=89

————***———–

4/ NEW BOOK REVIEWS on the ESOTERIC BOOK REVIEW

Recent reviews include the WITCH SCHOOL first, second and third degree
books by Rev. Donald Lewis-Highcorrell; Qabalah of the 50 Gates by
Steven Ashe, Priestess of the Forest by Ellen Evert Hopman; and the
GODS WITHIN by Jean Williams and Zachary Cox. For details see:
http://www.ritualmagick.co.uk/reviews

————***———–

5/ QABALAH THROUGH THE WORLDS – Workshop by David Rankine

The Qabalah underlies the magickal systems of the Western Mystery
Tradition. Yet many of its most effective practices have been ignored
or forgotten in recent centuries. This workshop will focus on
exploring techniques which can be applied to creating magickal change,
such as the development of Ruach ha-Qadosh, the power of prophecy
referred to in the Old Testament.

Details of this advanced and practical workshop by David Rankine on
the 4th of October in London’s ATLANTIS BOOKSHOP can be found at:
http://ritualmagick.co.uk/121/?page_id=72

————***———–

6/ REVIEWS OF WICCA MAGICKAL BEGINNINGS

This book by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine which explores the
magickal roots of the practices found in modern day Wicca is causing
quite a bit of debate amongst readers already. Good or bad, we are
always interested in the opinions of our readers, so make sure that if
you reviewed this book you let us know, likewise you are welcome to
contact us directly! This is what the author Michael Howard wrote
about Wicca Magickal Beginnings in THE CAULDRON Magazine:

“WICCA: Magickal Beginnings … . This is a very interesting study of
the possible historical origins of the ritual and practices in modern
neo-pagan witchcraft or Wicca. The authors begin by examining the word
“Wicca”, the various attempts pre-Gerald Gardner to revive witchcraft
by occultists such as Aleister Crowley and his American disciple Jack
Parsons, and the influence on the modern revival of the seminal works
of Jules Michelet, Charles Godfrey Leland, Sir James Frazer, Dr
Margaret Murray and Dion Fortune. They then go on to postulate the
origins for the Book of Shadows, scourging, the three-degree
initiation, the Wiccan Rede, skyclad rituals, the athame, the magickal
circle, Drawing Down the Moon, the Charge of the Goddess, the Great
Rite, Sabbats, the pentagram, the Mighty Ones, Cakes and Wine, the
four quarters, Cernunnos as the Wiccan name for the witch god, chants,
the elements and the Theban magickal alphabet, and their possible
historical antecedents. From their extensive research they conclude
that Wicca is a continuation of the medieval tradition of grimoire
magic, supplemented with material from the Hermetic Order of the
Golden Dawn and the OTO either by persons unknown before Gardner’s
initiation into the New Forest Coven in 1939 or later by Gardner and
his associates. They claim that when the GD and Crowley material is
removed from modern Wiccan rituals what is actually left is `a bedrock
of grimoire materials with fragments of folk practices which would fit
in with the idea of the continuation of a genuine tradition…’ This
claim is of course, based on the assumption that the New Forest coven,
which some die-hard skeptics refuse to believe ever existed, was not a
figment of Gardner’s imagination and that he did not just cobble
together the rites of Wicca from books. Personally, I would go along
with d’Este and Rankine. Highly recommended”

(Michael Howard, Cauldron Magazine, #129, August 2008)

If you are interested in finding out what Pagan Dawn Magazine and
other reviewers thought of Wicca Magickal Beginnings, for more
information on this book, or if you would like to order a signed copy
now, go to: http://avaloniabooks.co.uk/catalog/?page_id=61

————***———–
7/ WICCA IN THE NEWS
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5h3dTVsWRFU2tnqfw7_D3C8W4ALywD9234IU80

“Woman runs sword into foot during Wiccan ceremony” reads the headline
of this short news report of a woman who accidentally stabbed herself
in the foot with her sword during a good luck ritual in a cemetery,
and somehow escaped with just a warning from the police!

————***———–
8/ THE COMPLETE MAGICIAN’S TABLES – SPECIAL OFFER save 33%!

This book which is being described as the definitive tables of
correspondences produced to date, replacing the outdated book 777 by
Aleister Crowley in leaps and bounds, is available at a 33% discount
for the entire month of August to UK buyers who click on this link.

RRP £30.00, OFFER PRICE £20.00 with FREE Postage & Packaging (UK).
Shoppers from outside the UK can still order this book, but due to a
significant increase in postage charges (this is a heavy, hardback
book), prices vary. Check out this link for details:
http://goldenhoard.co.uk/2/?page_id=45

The Complete Magician’s Tables These more than 888 magical tables are
the most complete set of tabular correspondences covering magic,
astrology, divination, Tarot, I Ching, Kabbalah, gematria, angels,
demons, pagan pantheons, religious and mystical correspondences ever
printed. They are more than four times larger and more wide ranging
than Crowley’s Liber 777.

The source of the data in these tables ranges from unpublished
manuscript mediaeval grimoires and Kabbalistic works, Peter de Abano,
Abbott Trithemius, Albertus Magnus, Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Dr John
Dee, Dr Thomas Rudd, Tycho Brahe, MacGregor Mathers, (and the editors
of Mathers’ work, Aleister Crowley and Israel Regardie), to the most
modern theories of prime numbers and atomic weights. The sources
include many key grimoires such the Sworn Book, Liber Juratus, the
Lemegeton (Goetia, Theurgia-Goetia, Almadel, Pauline Art), Abramelin,
and in the 20th century the grimoire of Franz Bardon.

All this material has been grouped and presented in a consistent and
logical way covering the whole Western Mystery Tradition and some
relevant parts of the Eastern tradition.

To order a copy of The Complete Magician’s Tables now at the special
price of just £20.00 go to: http://goldenhoard.co.uk/2/?page_id=45

————***———–

We are passionately working to make magick manifest.
Expanding the esoteric horizons.
Towards becoming Magick.

————***———–

http://www.avaloniabooks.co.uk
http://www.avalonia.co.uk
http://www.ritualmagick.co.uk

————***———–

This is the Avalonia Newsletter
To subscribe go to:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/avalonia_news/

————***———–

Posted to the Esoteric Book Review with permission of Avalonia
(c) 2008 Avalonia

By Candlelight
Rites for Celebration, Blessing & Prayer
Janina Renee

“Light a candle – a simple, sacred act”

This is a wonderfully inspired book, and is non-tradition, non-religion specific and can as such be used by anyone to bring more of the sacred into everyday life, regardless of spiritual beliefs.

The book includes rites for everyday use, self-improvement, working life, personal situations, spiritual being, rhythms of nature, special days of the year (US) as well as number of other candle lighting ceremonies for a variety of situations such as friendship, birthdays, lovers, remembrance of a loved one who has passed on and even for pets.

This book will help you if you are writing your own rituals and like working with candles, as it is packed with original and inspirational ideas. Recommended for all levels, from complete beginners to those with lots of experience of ritual.

Practical Magic for Beginners
Techniques & Rituals to Focus Magical Energy
Brandy Williams

Review by Sorita d’Este for Avalonia  (archive 2001-2004)

This book is one of the “For Beginners” books produced by Llewellyn Publishing, and it is an excellent example of a book which does exactly as it says on the cover. The author, Brandy Williams, is a Wiccan High Priestess and Ceremonial Magician, and it is obvious that she drew on her wide ranging experience when she wrote this book.

Magick is about doing, and this book is a guide for beginners on how to start. It contains introductions to all the essential techniques and practises which are often referred to in other beginners books, but never explained – ie. Even though this book is aimed at beginners, it is aimed at beginners who want to learn and who want to do, rather than someone with a passing interest.

Working through the book, you will learn how to work with Energy, the Elements, the planets, how to time your magick and how to do results magick. There are some excellent example rituals for practical purposes such as “Find a Home” and “Go on a Journey”.

The book is packed with practical exercises and practical, straightforward advice. Recommended to all beginners, as well as those of you with some experience, but who are finding it difficult to get results from the spells and rituals you are doing.

SPELLCRAFT
a Grimoire of Practical Magic
Ann-Marie Gallagher

Review by Sorita d’Este for Avalonia  (archive 2001-2004)

SPELLCRAFT – Charm your way to success at home, work or school, and in love, life and relationships with this 21st-century guide to magic.

This book contains a blend of spell ideas and techniques drawing from modern traditions from all over the world – all presented in a simple to follow and understand format and beautifully produced in this hardback volume which would make a perfect gift for a friend or loved one who has a curiousity regarding spells.

Spellcraft would appeal to mature teenagers who just want to learn the techniques and do spells, who wants explanations on the “how to” rather than the long philosophies so many modern books present instead.

Spells in this book are tailored for practical every-day situations – for a new job, promotion, success in exams, to stop bullying, harmony at work or school and how to get a salary raise, there are also spells for love and to help you get rid of unwanted attentions.

Published by Carroll & Brown Books

The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation: Including the Demotic Spells: Texts 
by Hans Dieter Betz
University of Chicago Press

Reviewed by David Rankine
 
This book is an absolute must for anyone interested in Greek magick, or the development of the Western Esoteric Tradition. It is full of literally hundreds of fragments and whole spells from ancient Greece, covering a huge range of areas from divination to love spells to knowledge gathering to revenge to exorcism. The Greek gods, along with other imports, are to be found throughout the texts, as well as a lot of planetary material, such as extensive use of the Greek vowels. You have to read this book if you are serious about magick, there is no excuse not to!